Iraq In Fragments

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(Is this Bush's vision of "liberation"?)

In the wake of World War I, when the League of Nations granted Great Britain the area of the Middle East then known as Mesopotamia, a new nation was created by cobbling together lands containing a trio of incompatible ethnic groups: the Shiites, the Sunnis, and the Kurds.

Now 90 years later, Iraq appears to be on the brink of breaking back up into three separate entities, the Bush Administration’s self-congratulatory pronouncements about having brought democracy to the region notwithstanding.
Anyone wondering whether civil war is likely to break out in Baghdad need only check out Iraq in Fragments, a sobering documentary which delineates the dire prospects of a land rapidly losing any semblance of peace, patience, or hope for civilized discourse. Presented sequentially in three parts from the Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish perspectives, respectively, the movie makes it clear that none of these groups considers themselves to be better off since the American invasion.

The subjects interviewed here may have some hostility for members of other minorities, but they all appear to hate America more, even the Kurds. They all want the occupiers to leave, because it has become clear to them that the United States’ only interest is in securing the oil, not the well-being of Iraqis.

Besides this political tug-of-war, each installment features an up close and personal vignette. The first revolves around an 11-year-old orphan who has been enslaved and exploited by the mentally and physically abusive owner of an auto repair garage. The second shows some of mullah Muqtada al-Sadr’s henchmen carting off, at gunpoint, a merchant they suspect of selling liquor, ignoring the pleas and protestations of the man’s wife. The final segment, shot in Kurdistan, is perhaps the most revealing, because although the Coalition troops were originally welcomed there as liberators, the fed-up interviewees shown on screen now feel they were actually better off under Saddam.

A heartbreaking assessment of Iraq’s reconstruction from the point-of-view of its intended beneficiaries.

Excellent (3.5 stars). Unrated.  In Arabic, Kurdish and English with subtitles
Running time: 94 minutes.  Studio: Typecast Pictures

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